shnWhat Equipment Do I Have?

Telescopes and Cameras

Orion 8″ (203mm) f/4.9 Newtonian

(Main imaging telescope)

Focal length: 1000 mm

Celestron 4.5″ (114mm) f/7.9 Newtonian

(retired but still used for special events)
Focal Length: 910 mm

Nikon d5300 w/18-55 mm & 70-300 mm focal lens
Orion Starshoot Auto Guider camera


Orion Atlas II GoTo EQ

(Main imaging mount)

Orion SkyView Pro EQ w/GoTo


What Kind of Telescope Do I Recommend?

This website is loaded with articles that will help you get started and be on your way to purchasing either your first telescope, or an upgrade to the one you have now.

You can find them all in the “Telescope Information” page, which is found under the “Helpful Information” tab. People like us WANT to give out the valuable information, and help people get the right telescope.

Yours truly also will give personal advice based on years worth of experience if you ask, but I can’t help you or follow up if you don’t contact me, which you can do via email, social media, or if you happen to have my personal number.

What Are Some Great Astronomy Apps?

You’ll find an entire article of apps I personally use by clicking here. 

Where do I usually observe?

I try and observe in locations with light pollution levels no higher than Bortle Class 3. But as I’m based in Greater Los Angeles, finding spots to my liking mean long drives, and spots that were pristine even a decade ago are now more affected by light pollution thanks to the use of LED’s.

When I’m organizing deep sky parties through Orion Bear Astronomy, I prefer the Cottonwood Campground in Joshua Tree National Park. You can read about our star parties and how to attend them here. 

Click Here For A List of The Best Stargazing Sites in Southern California.

Click Here For a List of Good Southern California Stargazing Spots if you don’t want to drive far… 

Click Here For a General Rule on What Makes a Good Sky for Stargazing. 

Click Here To Read About “How far” or “How Dark is ‘Dark Enough?'”

How did you get into astronomy?

I have always been considered a science nerd and had a basic knowledge of astronomy and earth science as early as elementary school. I used to be heavily into geology and seismology, and I also went through a “phase” where I was into entomology too. As a child, my books of choice were encyclopedias or anything I could find that gave out facts. One of the books I used to read a lot was an old edition of “Night Watch” by Terrence Dickinson.

But believe it or not, my serious involvement into astronomy, both intellectually and spiritually, didn’t start happening until I was 19 years old in 2007.

To make a long story short, it was a combination of a “heavenly inspiration,” a few college classes, celestial event viewing parties, presentations made to very special people, and years worth of repeated observations of the sky through a telescope out in the California desert that have kept my passion going since then.

I did not start working part time as a Telescope Demonstrator at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles until early January 2018 – two weeks or so after I had just turned 30. Being there has opened up a new world for yours truly. I’ve been very blessed and fortunate to have been able to dive as deep as I have within such a short amount of time – from an occasional shift per week into a regular and now part of a team in charge of maintaining the historic equipment.

I was not an astrophotographer until late 2018, and have been dedicating a lot of time to perfecting that craft and raising my standards ever since the Observatory began opening the door for paid astrophotography hours while sharing and using my pictures for presentations and magazine articles as well as on social media.

So I’m living proof as an example of your life not being over when you reach your 30’s and life path changes drastically.

If you happen to discover something, what would you name it?

It will probably NEVER happen unless I’m lucky, but if that ever happened, then I’d name it after my older brother, Alex, who passed away in June of 2007 (cancer).

The “heavenly inspiration” came in the form of Comet 17P/ Holmes, which an outburst turned it into a naked eye level comet in November that year. That was the object that inspired me to learn how to use a telescope, learn the constellations, and navigate the sky.

in some ways it was symbolically me looking up to heaven, and my journey into astronomy began with that comet.

Why the Name “Orion Bear Astronomy?” Where Does It Come From?

“He is the maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.”   – Job 9:9 NIV

As you can see here, the picture includes the constellations Orion, Ursa Major (the Bear), and the Pleiades in the middle.

Even though in my world for every Jodie Foster there’s a Jake Busey, I’m more like Matthew McConaughey from the movie Contact – retains Christian beliefs but open minded for the big questions in search of truth. Science deals with the truths you can prove and/or observe, and make predictions based on those observations and understandings, thus my beliefs have nothing to do with scientific reasoning – and there is nothing wrong with changing your stance when new knowledge and information gets presented and proven.

Am I religious? I’m a Christian, but none of us at my church consider ourselves religious.
Do I believe the universe was created in six literal days? No.
Do I accept the Big Bang and scientific age of the universe? Yes.
Do I accept evolution as part of science? Yes.

I do not work at the observatory, nor organize public events or do live stream presentations to preach the Bible, I organize them to get you to learn about the sky and see cool stuff! It doesn’t matter to me what you believe; if you are also passionate about science and astronomy, then you’re already my friend! Let’s plan a star party out in the desert and go look at some galaxies!

Support Your Neighborhood Astronomers!

You know where mainstream media sites get their information? From people like us! Support Your Neighborhood Astronomers! Everything is free, but donations help keep the website alive and go towards outreach events!